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NWRC Journalism student wins top Media award

12 March 2024
Callum mcguigan PRESS

As I climb the ladder of experience so does the professional guidance given to me by my lecturers as they aid me in my blooming career.

Callum McGuigan
Student Journalist

A North West Regional College (NWRC) journalism student has won the Student Journalist of the Year Award at the prestigious CIPR Media Awards.

Callum McGuigan, from Omagh, previously completed a HND in Journalism at NWRC’s Strand Road campus and is currently studying for the Level 5 NCTJ Diploma in Journalism two days a week while also working for the Ulster Herald.

Callum writes an extremely popular historical feature in the paper every week as well as his work covering the local courts, and news journalism.

He said: “For my application my editor and I went through the range of material I had written in the paper. The hidden review feature on historical buildings was the most read and interacted feature we had put in our print and online editions, so that was already a strong start.”

Callum always wanted a career in journalism and NWRC was his chosen pathway.

"Ever since I was 16 I knew I wanted to be a photojournalist just like the greats of last century like Phillip Jones Griffiths, Don McCullin and even locally Jackie Sloan,” he said.

“I chose journalism because of my love for writing and storytelling through visual mediums, but even more so I felt the vocation to give voice to the voiceless and to inform the public of issues that affect them. After studying media, I started my foundation degree at NWRC which gave me all the necessary education and skills I needed to further my dream. The lecturers at NWRC pushed me to my full potential and gave me guidance and ideas to enable me to produce the best work I could. During my HND, I took on work placement in the Ulster Herald and through editorial guidance from the editor and lecturers I proved my ability as a journalist and ended up with employment following the course.

"I enjoyed getting involved in local democracy reporting through last year's election and Magistrate's Court training by the senior journalist. What I enjoy the most though is having my own photojournalism feature on historical buildings in the Tyrone area, where I research, document and produce captivating photos for two-page spreads; pursuing my dream of being a photojournalist.

"Ultimately though, the best aspect of the industry is that every day is different; one day you're covering crime and council meetings, the next you're covering kids making arts and crafts for Mother’s Day. It is an intense job, spontaneous and unpredictable, but in return it is vastly rewarding.

"Today I am still studying with NWRC, continuing my professional career by undertaking the NCTJ course alongside my work in newspapers. As I climb the ladder of experience so does the professional guidance given to me by my lecturers as they aid me in my blooming career.

"Being shortlisted for Student Journalist of the Year at the Northern Ireland Media Awards represents not just me and my journalistic career, but it represents the willingness and selflessness of the journalism team at NWRC to produce high-quality, inspired and ambitious young reporters to endear a challenging industry in a changing landscape."

Joining Callum at the awards were two alumni of NWRC - Aodhan Roberts, who completed L3 Creative Media Production, was nominated as Photographer or Videographer of the Year for his work with the Belfast Telegraph. And Clare Weir, Antrim Guardian, who graduated from NVQ L4 Journalism, was nominated for Journalist of the Year (Regional).

The awards were held on Friday, March 15 in The Mac Belfast. The head judge was Michael Crick, founder of Channel 4 News and was a reporter on Panorama and Newsnight.

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